Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Venice pot doctors shut down after raid by state medical board and police
Investigators carted boxes and at least two large plastic bags that appeared to contain marijuana out of the deep-blue building next to Muscle Beach that houses a doctorâ€™s office, a smoke shop and a popular dispensary called the Medical Kush Beach Club.
Jennifer Simoes, spokeswoman for the Medical Board of California, said the warrant was sealed. She declined to discuss the reason for the boardâ€™s investigation, but said the warrant was served at 1313, 1811 and 2017 Ocean Front Walk.
Attorneys for Medical Kush Doctor raced to the beach, but said they were not allowed on the premises. Graham Berry, one of the lawyers, said the warrant authorized a search of the offices, vehicles and â€œanything else that your imagination could run to.â€� He said it also allowed officials to seize records related to the unlicensed practice of medicine. â€œSince all these doctors appear to be duly licensed, I donâ€™t know what they are referring to,â€� he said.
Berry said that the raid started about 10:15 a.m. and that by the time he arrived at 11, he found a line of patrol cars, a crowd gathered outside, news cameras and a news helicopter fluttering overhead. â€œOnce I arrived, they pulled the sliding gate door down,â€� he said.
The Medical Kush Beach Club was also shut down, but Berry said, â€œIt appeared to me that the target was the doctors and the practice of writing recommendations and the collective was a collateral casualty.â€� The Medical Kush Beach Club is operated by Sean Cardillo, who is also the registered agent for Kush Dr., the limited liability corporation that runs the doctorâ€™s offices.
Cardillo could not be reached for comment.
Stewart Richlin, another attorney who represents Cardillo, said that agents seized 5 pounds of marijuana from the dispensary but that he expected it to be returned. â€œThey involved the Medical Kush Beach Club unfairly,â€� he said. He added that he did not know whether any cash or equipment was seized but said no one was arrested in the raids.
Richlin said Kush Dr. rents space and provides promotional services for medical marijuana doctors. He said he believed the doctors followed state law in issuing recommendations for marijana use.
â€œAs far as I know, itâ€™s by the book. Iâ€™m surprised that this is happening,â€� he said. â€œI have a feeling by the time the fat lady sings on this it will be a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.â€�
Simoes said the operation was conducted with the Los Angeles County district attorneyâ€™s office, the Los Angeles Police Department, the county Sheriffâ€™s Department and the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which provided search dogs.
-- John Hoeffel